• The foreign employee must have a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university, or equivalent professional experience. To check whether a U.S. university is accredited, please see the Dept. of Education website. If the foreign employee graduated from a university outside of the U.S., the foreign employee will need an academic evaluation. Please contact us in advance if the foreign employee does not have a bachelor’s degree, or if his/her field of study is not directly related to the offered position.
  • The foreign employee’s degree (or experience) must be in a professional field of study. Examples include business, engineering, chemistry, design, education, computer sciences, accounting, medical, etc.
  • The offered position must qualify as a specialty occupation (i.e. an occupation that requires at least a bachelor’s degree).
  • The foreign employee must be paid at least the actual or prevailing wage for the occupation, whichever is higher.
  • The U.S. employer must be equipped to provide the actual job duties of the specialty position. For example, Accountant is a specialty position, but if the company is too small and only requires basic bookkeeping duties, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may determine that the job duties for an H-1B specialty occupation does not exist.

Validity Period

  • Maximum 6 years (Initial 3 years + One 3-year extension).
  • If the foreign employee has applied for permanent residence prior to the end of his/her 5th year of H-1B, the H-1B may be extended beyond the 6-year maximum.

Procedure Overview

If the foreign employee wishes to obtain an H-1B visa, a petition must first be submitted to USCIS. If there are more applicants than the annual quota (65,000 for bachelor’s degree or higher, and 20,000 reserved for master’s degree or higher), the petition will be selected for processing by a computer-generated random selection process, unless the petitioner is a Cap-Exempt organization. Once USCIS approves the H-1B petition, the foreign employee may schedule a visa interview at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad and apply for an H-1B visa, which permits entry into the US as an H-1B non-immigrant worker. If the foreign employee is in the U.S. under a different visa status at the time of filing the petition, the foreign employee may be able to change his/her status to H-1B within the U.S. However, upon traveling abroad the next time, the foreign employee will need to apply for an H-1B visa to re-enter the U.S.

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